Kingsman: The Secret Service” is an action/comedy about a teenager from the ghettos of London, played by Taron Egerton, who is ushered into a world of action and espionage by his dead father’s old mentor, Colin Firth. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the man behind “X-men: First Class” and “Kick-ass,” “Kingsman” takes its plot straight from the classic hero’s journey, plugs in its own unique characters, and then gives it a completely new spin. The film is clever and self-aware, poking fun at other spy movies such as James Bond and the Bourne movies, but most importantly of all, “Kingsman” is a lot of fun.
From the opening scene til the closing credits, “Kingsman” is almost nothing but over the top action… In the best possible way. In scenes where other movies would simply have the protagonist and his buddies rattle off an exposition-filled conversation, “Kingsman” has it’s protagonist steal a car and evade police while driving in reverse. In both cases the qualities of the character are established, but the way “Kingsman” does it is infinitely more fun to watch. The best example of the over the top action is a fight scene at the end of the second act, which is one of the most ridiculous, yet enjoyable scenes I’ve ever witnessed on the big screen.
Egerton and Firth are both incredible in their roles, and their chemistry works perfectly. Egerton demonstrates legitimate leading man potential, and Firth, once again, proves that he can do no wrong. The supporting cast is wonderful as well. Mark Strong, Sofia Boutella, and Mark Hamill are all great; going above and beyond what their roles required. Sophie Cookson is a name to watch out for. She played second fiddle to Egerton, but also showed she might have what it takes to carry a movie in the future. Michael Caine plays Michael Caine, which is always solid, but in a film like this he is actually the weakest link. However that’s largely because his character isn’t asked to do much. Lastly, Samuel L. Jackson plays the film’s antagonist. He’s essentially a spoof of the classic Bond villain, but is so funny and likeable that you are almost cheering for him by the end.
From a technical standpoint, “Kingsman” is beautiful and innovative. The fight scene choreography and cinematography, was something wonderful to behold and didn’t rely on the quick-cutting, handheld, shaky cam that has become the standard for 21st century action movies. The way the film blends its 80’s rock-filled soundtrack with its action sequences is impressive, and adds a unique flavor to the movie.
The worst thing you can say about “Kingsman” is that the plot is formulaic. However the movie is definitely aware of that fact and pokes fun at itself every opportunity it gets. The movie sets out to be entertaining, and it succeeds. There are a few minor plot holes that may have been annoying had the film taken itself more seriously, but, as is, the movie is so light-hearted and funny that the plot holes really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Matthew Vaughn is on a roll. He is rapidly becoming one of the best, most unique, directors in Hollywood. “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is everything you could hope for from a big budget blockbuster. The cast is great. The movie is both funny and entertaining, but most notably, the non-stop action is just, flat out, a pleasure to behold. ?